Marketing is both an art and a science. The art is the creative and thinking “outside the box”. The science is evaluating what we have done to find what works and what doesn’t. So, before you start your 2017 Marketing Plan take the time to determine what you need to do different this year versus last year. Successful marketing supports the organizations goals and has a positive return on investment.
Consider Company Strategy
Before beginning the marketing plan for 2017, determine if your company is making any strategic changes. Is your company changing the target market for your products and services? Are the sales targets; either company size or targeting industry changing and what shift is needed in your marketing to address these changes? Will the company introduce new products or services? What will be needed to introduce the new product for each stage in the funnel? Are there any other internal changes that will impact marketing resources like increasing or decreasing employees and in what area?
SMART Marketing Planning Template
If you have not created a marketing plan, use our marketing planning templates or our marketing budget tool kit for Real Estate, Vacation Rentals or Home Builders to organize everything you will need to start your marketing journey. These templates use SMART goals; to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. SMART goals lend themselves to positive ROI.
If you didn’t have a content marketing plan last year, you are not alone as less than 1/3 of all marketers completed a content marketing plan. Making an annual plan can be daunting at first, so consider a month or a quarter at first and expand it to a year to make sure your plan is reasonable and attainable based on the available resources. Your marketing goals should also provide the number and quality of leads necessary for sales to convert.
Your plan is not made in isolation to be filed on a server or in a desk drawer but should be a living document to guide you and be flexible enough to change throughout the year based on results. Engage A/B testing, review Google analytics (and CRM or other data) results to see if goals were met and be prepared to make changes along the way. Revising the plan to include more of “what works” and eliminating what doesn’t work improves results as the year progresses.
What Content Performed Best Last Year?
Spend a day or more diving into your Google analytic data, CRM data and your social media dashboards to determine what content performed the best. Analyze the subjects that performed the best and the format that resonated with your audience. Which CTA’s and landing pages performed the best? Try to identify any common elements to make sure they are included in the current plan.
What blog posts were viewed the most and which blog posts gained the most engagement on social media? Compare content format for insights into what performed the best; video, infographic and blog posts, etc.
Which ebooks and long form content performed the best and led to the most conversions? Do you have content created that answers customers questions for each stage of the buyers journey? If not, include in your plan filling in any gaps with newly created content.
Dig further into the subject by asking the sales team “what content converted or moved prospects further into conversion” to uncover content that speaks to the bottom line.
Well written longer content that answers a niche question will perform better with less competition than generalized content that only scrapes the surface of a subject. The sheer volume of content is making the consumer more selective.
Set Experimental Goals
What are some of the marketing techniques or formats that are yet to be tried and how much of the marketing budget can be set-aside to try new things. Perhaps your organization would like to create a buzz with Facebook Live videos (or just video content), a new social media platform (like Medium) or host an event. Commit your wish list to paper and determine how much of the total budget can be used for new ideas or techniques. Prioritize your wish list to rank the best ideas to try first.
What emerging technology may create new opportunities that you can exploit before your competitors? Are your customers early adopters and will they use smart watches or Google glasses and do you have content to fit this format? Emarketer predicts wearables will increase by 60% this year.
Don’t Plan in a Vacuum
The marketing department is not the only source of ideas. Get sales, operations and all levels of the organization involved in the process. This can be done in meetings or soliciting ideas through a collaboration tool. The insights from multiple disciplines can be the source of whole new areas of opportunity for the organization. Most importantly, find out what customers want. What are their biggest headaches? What can your organization do to help customers reduce time spent or reduce expenses? What are the most common questions or concerns voiced by customers to the sales team?
Determine Your Brand Identity, Target Customer & Integrate Your Message Across Channels
Marketing is not performed in isolation. There are fundamental steps or a solid foundation needed before you make a plan. Does your product or service have clear branding and a recognized style? Are your target industries and personas well defined? Are employees able to articulate what the key product differentiators are and what defines your brand?
Your company website should have consistent branding, design, look and feel. This style should also carry over to the Calls-To-Action, landing pages, blog design and design of long form content such as white papers. This style is incorporated to social media, email marketing, online advertising and the entire marketing effort.
Paveya specializes in website design and lead generation marketing through, content writing, social media management and advertising, email marketing and long form content to support the customer journey. We have in-depth knowledge of Travel & Tourism, Real Estate, Vacation Rentals and Home Building industries. Contact us today for consulting or help in crafting a 2017 Marketing Plan for your company.